Study Guide

A Border Passage Narrator Point of View

By Leila Ahmed

Narrator Point of View

First Person (Central Narrator)

Since Ahmed is penning an autobiography, she can hardly avoid using first person. The deeply personal revelations and historical observations also make it pretty easy to locate the narrator of this work:

I grew up in the last days of the British Empire. My childhood fell in that era when the words "imperialism" and "the West" had not yet acquired the connotations they have today—they had not yet become, that is, mere synonyms for "racism," "oppression," and "exploitation." (5)

Ahmed is clearly preparing to lay bare some of the more complex and difficult facts of her life in Egypt. Her writing style—especially in the opening pages—can often feel poetic, giving a feel of fiction or lyricism to her writing. But, as we get immersed in her early life, we come to understand that her baby days in Cairo were just that magical.